Journal

Welcome to my online journal, which I started in December 2002 after several very persuasive hints from friends. Although I obviously don't write about everything that happens in my life here, I hope it'll provide an insight into who I am and what's happening in my life - whether good, bad, happy or sad.

Relief from the tears (for now)

Posted by Anna at 21:00 on Friday, January 30, 2004
The tears have largely stopped now (friends here have helped a great deal with that), and I'm slowly starting to adjust to the change that's happened between us. Despite that, the feeling of intense loss remains - coupled with a fear that because of this she could draw back from me as a friend too. If that's not to happen it's something both of us will have to work on.

We'll always be close - and I'll always love her - but at the moment the only way we can be together is as friends and confidants. Although I'll always long for her, now I know I can cope with that.

She's certainly right about one thing. Emotionally we still both have a great deal of growing up to do, and for all I know I might start soon experiencing the same feelings about my sexuality that she is now trying to cope with - after all, I'm now post-op too. I don't know...but I can face the future, remember the special times we've shared rather than the loss and pain - and all arm in arm with my true friend Susie.

This experience has taught me something too. Just as I learnt that depression passes given time if you can learn to let out the pain, I've come to realise that it was the emotional shock I felt that caused the worst of the tears and held me back from adjusting to the change in our relationship - once the shock wore off, the tears largely stopped. The next time something like this happens, I think I'll be better able to cope with it.

As luck would have it she came online in IM just as I was finishing writing an email to her, and we talked for over an hour. I fell asleep at 4am (Thai time) crying tears of joy at regaining the friend I love, rather than tears of pain at losing a partner.

Sometimes I hate being me

Posted by Anna at 17:48 on Wednesday, January 28, 2004
When I fall for someone, I fall for them hard. There's no "gentle attraction", no flirting, no preliminaries. Once that emotional connection is established my love is unconditional and complete unless it's betrayed - and even then it's survived on more than one occasion - including when my first girlfriend's other boyfriend turned up when I was visiting her in Sweden.

In the past its intensity has scared potential partners off, and has got me hurt so many times.

But it's at the core of who I am - the foundation of not only myself but also my Faith, and to try to moderate that ability would be to do the same thing to myself that I did all those years I was in denial about my gender. I couldn't do it without losing myself again.

Right now I'm struggling to come to terms with the fact that for once in my life I've shared a love stronger and more complete than anything I've ever experienced before. Neither of us saw it coming, but for the first time I've found someone with whom I can share everything, and don't have to hide a thing.

In the short time we've known each other we've come to know each other more completely than I ever thought possible.

Our mutual love developed slowly (and initially as a friendship) over the course of the last few months, then flowered while I was staying with her over Christmas. As usual I didn't initiate anything - I never do for fear of hurting anyone or losing a friend because I thought there was something more than there truly was.

The blissful time we shared together lasted all of three weeks, but I've never felt a love as strong as this. Not with my first love, not in my marriage....maybe not even in the birth of my children.

It was shattered shortly before I flew back to Thailand - when she came to terms with the fact that she now feels she needs to persue relationships with men. I found out 2 days before I flew here when I went to see her - having been away from her for just a fortnight - and spent much of the short time we had together crying.

Everything had changed in the two weeks we were apart.

Relationships with guys are something I thought long and hard about last year. I came to the conclusion that the chances of a guy being able to offer me the kind of love I need are so close to zero there's no point in even looking for it. Most of them don't seem to be able handle us, period, and I've not seen anything since to change my mind. She'd already had a similar experience (and in fact we'd talked about it at length and drawn the same conclusions each time) but now she wants - no...she needs - to try again.

This intensity of love is something new to even me. And now it's been snatched away. The pain is far, far worse than the pain that nearly drove me to suicide when I was struggling to reconcile my gender with my family. I can't cope, but I have no choice. I won't give up life. Not now.

Sometimes I hate being me. It hurts so much I can't stop crying.

Susie, I love you with all my heart.

That love will never die, and if ever you change your mind I'll be here for you - but I can already see that isn't going to happen.

Yet more tears. When will they stop?

Naming my recently acquired Thai boyfriends...

Posted by Anna at 20:45 on Tuesday, January 27, 2004
The Thai Boyfriend Set supplied by the clinic. The standard one is 1 1/8 inch diameter, and the larger one 1 3/8 inches. Both are around 9 inches long, although the exact length varies as you can see.Anyone who's been a patient of Dr. Suporn will be able to tell you about the infamous "Thai Boyfriend" handed out to patients of the clinic, and I'm certainly no exception.

Until now, my stents (surgical dilators) have been anonymous. That's no way to treat a guy is it?

I touched on this briefly in my GRS Diary when I said that "Bill and Ben the Dildo Men" seemed all too obvious (a reference to an old but recently resurrected BBC childrens' TV programme, for the non-Brits). Of course at this point I know anyone who knows me is going to say "Only Anna could come up with that!") while shaking their head in disbelief...

I had one suggestion of "OOOOHHHHHHH" and "AAAAHHHHH" from a friend but that's so far removed from the reality of dilation that it didn't stick (unlike the stent if you leave it alone for too long, but that's another story).

A couple of days ago inspiration struck (I think it was the Banana Split on the Mercure Hotel room service menu that did it...) and I came up with "Ben & Jerry". I'll leave you to guess which was the bigger one.

However I soon realised there was a problem - I'd forgotten my spare 1¼" stent. I've never used it (although it could be a lifesaver if my main one breaks), and it's currently sitting in a drawer back home in the UK. Back to the drawing board.

Then my unusually bad sense of humour kicked in. Anyone who's seen more than a handful of episodes of the BBC sci-fi comedy series Red Dwarf will probably remember Kryten's neglected and rather cranky spare head that lives in a cupboard and has a terrible Yorkshire accent. Well as it happens, my home town (Bishop Auckland) used to be in Yorkshire until they moved the county boundaries and placed it in Pink Panther Country (Durham, if you don't know the old joke).

I can hear the groans already...

So...the spare stent is now "Spare Head 2", my everyday 1¼" stent is of course "Kryten". After that the 13/8" one was a no-brainer - it's "The Inquisitor". At least I didn't come up with "Rimmer" for any of them...

Hey, it works!

Posted by Anna at 03:00 on Monday, January 26, 2004
After my dilation tonight things took a rather interesting turn, to say the least!

Since my reassignment surgery on 14th November (10 weeks and 3 days ago) I've felt a little nervous (to say the least!) about exploring the sensations my genitals are capable of producing. That's probably due in part to the haematoma I suffered and the excruciating pain that accompanied it, and partly to the dissolvable stitches that were left in place - one of which looks like it's through the base of the clitoris (incidentally, when I when I saw Dr. Suporn for my pre-FFS consultation last Monday he snipped the top off that particular stitch).

Tonight I finally felt relaxed enough to explore a little and see what my body is now capable of. It also probably helps that over the last week I've noticed that the muscle at the entrance to my vagina has relaxed significantly too - it was very tight before, and at times dilation has been a bit tender as a result.

I was amazed to find myself climaxing very soon indeed!

Even though I'm pretty sure that it was a small one (given that I went from a standing start to orgasm in less than 5 minutes, by rights it should be) it was certainly some experience...I found myself shaking and tingling all over (including the whole of my chin, which was previously completely numb from my FFS 5 days ago) and making a lot of noise. For me, the sensation I experienced at climax was very similar to that I was familiar with pre-op - but so much stronger. If that was a small one, there's no chance whatsoever of keeping me quiet through a big one, believe me!

As far as techniques go I'm finding the areas under the clitoris and just outside the vaginal vestibule (both of which are tipped with glans material in recent Suporn patients) are the ones that respond best to stimulation for me. My clitoris still has that (truncated) stitch running through it, and that combined with some swelling of the labia minora effectively means I can't stimulate it yet.

All I can say is "Wow!".

A Goth loose in Thailand

Posted by Anna at 17:38 on Sunday, January 25, 2004
I'm pleased to say that I've now been released from my recent incarceration in Aikchol Hospital following my FFS last Wednesday and am now lurking in room 404 of the Mercure Hotel, and scaring the locals with my impression of something from "The Mummy Returns".

The operation went off without a hitch and took 8 hours - of which 2� were for the nose. In that time Dr. Suporn managed to squeeze in this little lot:

  • Forehead compression (Type II)
  • Dermalive injections to remove furrows on the nosebridge and forehead
  • Brow lift
  • Partial scalp advancement (just the temples, which were receding slightly)
  • Reconstructive rhinoplasty
  • Chin reduction
  • Jaw reduction
Wannee and I just before checking into Aikchol Hospital for my FFSThere were no complications during my surgery and the early indications are good. Even now (4 days post-op) the effects of the brow lift and chin reduction are particularly noticeable, and given that they were the two things I wanted dealt with above all else I'm very happy about that. Although my nose isn't noticeably smaller (it will take some time for it's true size to become apparent due to the swelling), it's profile is much smoother than before, and the hump it had is well and truly gone. Good riddance!

Having now been through both GRS and FFS, I can honestly say that despite the incredible pain I experienced after my GRS (I drew the "Congratulations! You've won a haematoma" card last time - none of the other girls here were in anything like that amount of pain), and the weakness that followed it, I definitely prefer that to recovery from FFS.

For the first day I could barely see due to swelling above my eyes. Everything was blurry, and it was much less effort to keep my eyes closed than to read, watch TV etc. Because of the forehead work I've had to sleep on my back, and after a couple of nights that was becoming tiresome (a line of stitches under the hairline behind each ear rule out sleeping on my side for now).

Both eyes have bruising on the outside where the brows have been lifted. I've Frankenstein-esque stitching in my hairline (rather gothic I think...), and my forehead and nose will be covered by a cast 24 hours a day until 7 days post op (next Wednesday). I've to wear a compression bandage around my head to help the swollen skin settle back onto the chin properly - if I don't I may end up needing a lower facelift later on.

All in all it looks like I've been in a pretty serious bar brawl.

Apparently the bone in the forehead should heal completely in a month or so - the nose will be much quicker. The swelling will go down gradually, although it will take several months to settle down fully. I will have to wear the compression bandage for some time though - I'm told up to 3 months in total - although I'm not totally clear on how long each day that will be for once the immediate recovery period passes. I'll find out from Wannee tomorrow.

The hardest thing to cope with is not pain (I don't have any other than a persistant mild headache which isn't really surprising given what's been done to the bone in my forehead) but discomfort - my nose is partially blocked and the swelling in my chin and bottom lip makes talking difficult and eating messy or impossible (depending on what you try to munch). I'm definitely not one to invite to a dinner party right now.

The other issue in the short term is self confidence. Considering how much attention we give to our appearance during and after transition, looking like an A&E inpatient certainly doesn't make me want to show my face in public!

Once again, all I can do for now is wait for my body to heal. Only time will tell how much of a difference this all makes to my self confidence and my life.

By the way, since I was last here in November the clinic have changed the "post-op maintenance kit" they issue to GRS patients. A well as the standard stent (9" long by 1�" diameter) new patients are also issued with the "big boy" version (1 3/8" diameter) - and both now come in a rather snazzy gift wrapped presentation box!

Finally, a big thank you to everyone who's wished me well on this trip. Knowing so many people care for me really does make a huge difference.

Back to Chonburi

Posted by Anna at 02:42 on Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Well I'm lurking in Thailand again and just wanted to send everyone a big wave before I transferred to Aikchol Hospital for my FFS in a few minutes time (as the saying goes, Wannee has entered the building...) and go offline for a few days.

My surgery (forehead compression/lift, brow ridge reduction, rhinoplasty and chin/jaw reduction) should start at around 8:30am tomorrow. (1:30am GMT). I should be back at the Mercure on the 25th (5 days in hospital, including one night beforehand).

I arrived in Bangkok yesterday at about 4:10pm, and once I'd cleared the queues and played hunt the luggage Wannee was there to meet me with big smiles as usual!

We arrived in Chonburi at about 7pm, and the greeting at the clinic was amazing as always. It's so good to see everyone again. The consultation with Suporn was interesting...as well as me finally getting to see that Neandertal skull I've been wearing for a while in my X-Rays we discussed what he was going to do in a lot of detail. He made sketches and measurements, and then the camera came out for the "before" pics.

He also examined my genitals to see how they're healing from my surgery 9 weeks ago, and was very happy with my progress (everything looks so much better than when I left Thailand last time). The fun part came when he inserted a transparent speculum into my vagina to look at how the skin graft is healing. I was given a hand mirror so I can see too, and believe me it's incredible! There's no visible sign of scar tissue or hair growth anywhere.

One last bit. When I arrived at the Hospital last time I noticed that I got a fair bit of attention from the locals (probably just because I'm a Westerner and they know about the clinic and are curious). This time I thought I'd do it in style - on the basis that if you're going to get noticed it might as well be for a good reason I'm wearing that black dress. I can't wait to see Wannee's face!

Have a look at if you want to see what the locals are in for...

Almost time to fly again...

Posted by Anna at 16:10 on Sunday, January 18, 2004
In just a few hours I'll be back on the way back to Chonburi for my FFS. Although it'll be wonderful to see everyone again, I'm flying out alone this time and the one person I desperately want to share this experience with can't come with me. I'm missing her so much already.

Yesterday afternoon I had my first appointment at my hairdressers in town since I flew out for my reassignment surgery. It was so good to see everyone again - and they were all fascinated by the pictures I took along! Afterwards I wandered around the shops and picked out some gifts for everyone at the clinic. I won't say what they are as I don't want to spoil the surprise...

A very upsetting and stressful day

Posted by Anna at 23:15 on Tuesday, January 13, 2004
I thought yesterday was bad enough but it was a picnic compared to today.

My appointment at the Portman Clinic was at 3:45pm, and as I haven't been there before I left home early. It was just as well I did, because when I arrived at Basingstoke Station the contents of the indicator boards bore no resemblance whatsoever to the trains that were running. It turned out that someone had been killed at Clapham Junction, and all the trains were being diverted.

It took me two hours to get from Basingstoke to Waterloo, and by the time I arrived I was feeling rather weak. A hot chocolate and a baguette in Costas Coffee helped though! After that I jumped onto the tube for the trip to the Portman Clinic, which I found without too much difficulty. By that time I was already very tired (not particularly surprising at 8 weeks post-op) and dozed off in the waiting room for a few minutes.

The appointment went well, but I did find it very upsetting and was frequently in tears. It's not an experience I particularly want to repeat, but unfortunately I have no choice - and next time my ex-wife will be there too. Given her current hostility to me, that's not a prospect I relish at all.

By the time I was back on the tube I was very tired and noticeably in pain. Despite that, no one so much as asked if I was alright. Isn't British reserve wonderful?

When I got to Waterloo it was the busiest I've ever seen - the delays of the morning still hadn't cleared up, and the whole place was in absolute chaos. It was too much for me - I cried and then (uncharacteristically) had a panic attack and literally ran blindly through the crowd, stopping only when a member of staff found me and directed me onto a train home. By then I could barely walk.

The trip home was long and very uncomfortable, and I was so relieved when I finally arrived back home.

The only good thing about the day was the sweet way I was treated by the taxi driver who brought me back home - he was a true gentleman and even got out of the cab to hold the door open for me when we arrived.

One final thing. Today the news broke among the UK TS Community that four psychiatrists at Charing Cross GIC (presumably led by Professor Richard Green - a man who should have been retired from patient care long ago) have somehow managed to get my consultant - Dr Russell Reid - in front of the GMC on charges of inappropriate prescribing. It's not unexpected, as they have apparently been after him for some time....their way of treating patients is a million miles away from the sympathetic way Russell has treated me.

A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for next Tuesday (by which time I'll be back in Thailand), and if the worst happens Russell could be suspended. If that happens, there will be a lot of us stuck without treatment. My prescriptions come directly from him, and my only alternative in the short term would be to buy them illegally over the net. Not good. Worse still would be the predicament of those not as far advanced in their treatment as I. For them, it could be absolutely devastating.

Along with many others, I've sent a letter of support both to him and his defence counsel:

    Dear Russell,

    It has just been brought to my attention that you have been called before a preliminary Hearing of the GMC next Tuesday, regarding an allegation that you have been prescribing hormones in breach of the Harry Benjamin Standards of Care.

    I�m writing to express my support for you in this matter.

    Since I first came to you in May 2002 I�ve always found you to be a sympathetic, competent professional who has treated me fairly and led me to make my own decisions about my treatment and life with appropriate guidance but minimal interference.

    Under your care I�ve been able to successfully transition in my current workplace (after 7 months of hormone therapy) and am now living life as a happy and well adjusted post-operative trans woman. I have to say that I doubt that would now be the case had I been forced to seek treatment elseware.

    Although I know some in the medical profession believe that you should not be allowed to prescribe hormones on the first visit (or indeed before RLT), your doing so for me was certainly within the terms of the SOC (I�d been seeing psychiatrists and receiving counselling for 7 months prior to coming to you) and allowed me to move forward in my transition in a controlled and humane manner.

    Several months before coming to you I sought a referral to Charing Cross through a local NHS psychiatrist. When I asked her to confirm the contents of their Standards of Care I was very disappointed to find that they will not consider prescribing hormones before the patient changes role.

    For many of us, our appearance and/or home situation make that impossible. In my own case, I had to contend with not only a noticeably masculine facial structure (which hormones softened greatly by the time I transitioned) but also an extremely hostile ex-partner and our children with whom I was still living at the time. Transitioning without hormones in that environment would for me have been impossible, and had I tried I have grave doubts as to whether I�d have survived.

    Should you be suspended, it goes without saying that many of us in the UK TS Community will be faced with a severe problem. Although my treatment has now effectively concluded following my surgery in November, I (and many others) currently have no alternative to you for our hormone prescriptions. The prospect of being forced to self-medicate is one I certainly don�t relish.

    Finally, it goes without saying that you are very highly regarded within the UK transsexual community as a sympathetic and understanding professional who has undoubtedly saved many people from suicide.

    I�d be very grateful if you would put this letter before the GMC at the Hearing. Were I not in Thailand next week, rest assured I�d certainly offer to appear in person to make these points myself. I am of course quite happy to discuss the points I�ve raised with the members of the GMC by email in the meantime.

    Please keep us all up to date with what happens over this matter. I�ll be happy to post any news on your behalf to the online UK TS Support Groups I�m a member of.

    Good luck.


    Kind Regards,

    Anna-Jayne Metcalfe

All we can do now is wait. If those four idiots get their way, they'll be responsible for untold misery and suffering among the TS population. I've already had one phone call from a friend who was in a complete panic over her treatment, and I shudder to think what will happen to the suicide rate among our community if they succeed.

We won't forget what they're trying to do, that's for certain.

Sometimes you can just feel someone's pain

Posted by Anna at 18:44 on Sunday, January 11, 2004
This morning I dilated early (I'm getting the hang of it, but I usually fall asleep!) and went to the 10:30 service at my Church. It's the first time I've been since arriving back in the country, so it was quite emotional for me - and by coincidence the service this week was a communion service, which was even better.

After the Communion we all exchanged greetings. It was then that I realised that a very frail elderly gentleman sitting in the row behind me was in real distress. I think he suffers from mild dementia and had hoped his wife (who I assume passed away some time ago) would be there today. He spent most of the service quietly calling her name and crying.

When I held his hand I could feel his pain was so strong that almost immediately I felt tears forming as I prayed for them both. I stayed with him for several minutes...it just didn't seem right to leave him alone with so much grief. I can only hope that sharing that pain eased his heart a little.

Life hurts so deeply sometimes. No matter how deep the pain and hurt, there's always something to live for. It's called love, and I see and feel it everywhere. All I had to do was open my eyes and learn to smile.

Speaking of which, my friend Toni has just visited. The last time I saw her was in late November in Thailand, so it was wonderful to see her again.

A Goth loose in Basingstoke (but practicing for Thailand)

Posted by Anna at 23:05 on Saturday, January 10, 2004
It's been a fun evening. Yesterday when I went into work I arranged to meet up with my friends Martin & Helen (and as it turned out, their friend Pip) for a meal in town tonight - 6pm at an Italian Restaurant called Ciao Baby. It's the first time I've been there, the food was gorgeous and the company wonderful and funny. Highly recommended.

I did my usual gothic thing (I know!) and it was rather fun wandering around amongst the many local natives looking as different as I do. I've no idea whether I attracted any attention - I just enjoyed being out and about with friends amongst people and feeling good about myself.

After the meal we relocated to a pub near the High Street and carried on chatting. Helen said she's never seen me looking so happy or comfortable with myself which just says everything. I also answered one or two questions which the guys at work have been too shy to ask me, but have been quietly speculating about behind my back...

A wonderful evening.

8 weeks, and all's well...

Posted by Anna at 23:15 on Friday, January 09, 2004
I'm 8 weeks post-op today, and what a day.

Yesterday I was planning to drop into work and say hi to everyone. In the event I wasn't feeling too well (migraines are a pain) and one look at the wet & wild weather outside convinced me to crawl back into bed instead. I did nothing all day.

I thought I'd try to actually make the effort this morning. I started my dilation at 7:30am, fell asleep an hour or so later and woke up at 10am. By the time I douched, showered, breakfasted and got ready it was 11:15am already. Crazy.

It's been largely a fine and clear day which I'm sure helped with my motivation! Eventually I arrived at work shortly before midday, said some hellos downstairs and then ventured upstairs to say hi to my team. It was wonderful seeing everyone again, and we inevitably ended up going for a pub lunch (hey it is Friday!). Afterwards I worked my way around the building before finally leaving at 3:10pm and rushing to get to my GP's surgery for an appointment at 3:45pm.

The appointment was just to let her know how everything went in Thailand, and give her an opportunity to examine me if she wished. She did so, and was very impressed with what she saw and felt internally. She said that (intact stitches aside) the only giveaway was the colour of the tissue inside the vaginal vestibule (it's got some rather angry looking red streaks in it at the moment, but I'm told that settles down over time).

It's certainly good to hear that.

Afterwards I dropped in to see a friend from my old Church. It's the first time I've seen her since just before I went full time, and I wish I hadn't left it so long. I won't next time.

I finally got back at 6pm - utterly exhausted. After grabbing something to eat, chilling for a while and taking some new "pussy pics" to record my progress in healing I settled down to do my dilation at about 10pm.

I'm really going to pay for this tomorrow....

Minister, can you spare some honey?

Posted by Anna at 23:14 on Sunday, January 04, 2004
Well I'm finally back in the Land of a Thousand Roundabouts - Susie drove me back late yesterday and we spent today chilling out, jump starting my car (it's been sitting in the garage for nearly 8 weeks and didn't want to play) and visiting my friends Mark and Debs.

It's wierd being back here, and I'm really not sure I like it. After Chonburi and Ash, it feels like a pretty bleak and unfriendly place - despite the many wonderful friends I have here. Never mind - two weeks today I'll be on my way back to Thailand again!

I've just finished my evening dilation and I'm chilling out and watching Trigger Happy TV USA. If you're not familiar with Trigger Happy TV this quote from Dom Jolley says it all:

"When we created a bogus political party called the Teddy Bear Alliance we visited the different party headquarters asking for honey. The Tories ignored us, the Lib Dems came out with a couple of jars while Labour locked their doors and called the police."

The Yanks are gonna hate us for this...

Happy New Year folks!

Posted by Anna at 02:09 on Thursday, January 01, 2004
As befits post-op girls of the class of 2003, Susie and I are of course dilating the New Year in...

Being the strange and extrovert souls we are deep (or not so deep) down when we got back from a gorgeous meal at a local (and quite lively!) pub an hour or so ago the camera came out and various unusual poses involving one small furry singing hamster, two stents and a number of outragious facial and bodily expressions were duly captured on camera, two of which we actually dare show you...
Susie's the only girl I know who can make a pair of dilators look like part of her outfit...Can anyone think of names for these guys? We have to spend so much time with them it seems a shame to leave them nameless...
Suggestions for appropriate names for our two plastic surgical friends are of course welcome...